May 24, 2004


I have been trying to grok florian.

I have no idea what kind of person florian is -- man, woman, old, young -- but I know florian doesn't live in the same America I live in. I also know that we don't have any common ground, and you all know how important that is to me. I can't figure out what florian intends to accomplish here.

I'm not trying to be snarky at all; I seriously am curious why florian keeps reading my blog. I obviously care more about the American military than any other in-group I belong to, so posting links about turncoats is not going to make me re-evaluate how much I value our loyal and selfless servicemembers. Moreover, I obviously know that there are a few bad apples in the barrel, but I am absolutely certain that most servicemembers are not targeting civilians, as florian has tried to get me to admit. Every time florian comments, I tend to sigh and shake my head. I don't for one second consider re-thinking my position.

Which leads me to wonder about the in-between: I have basically given up on any hope for grey area. I see the world in black and white these days. There are good guys and bad guys; there are rights and wrongs. Researching, reading blogs, and trying to grok every day for the past eight months has been a double-edged sword: the more I learn about the world, the less likely I am to compromise on what I believe. When I am faced with looney imams, kids with AKs, and auctions of Jewish body parts on LGF every day, I am way less likely to give any credence to someone's argument that radical Islam is not the enemy. And, when faced with soldiers who organize charitable organizations, beg to return to Iraq despite the four-inch bullet hole in the forearm, and turn in their idiot buddies who torture prisoners, I am not at all likely to happily sit by and let florian sully everything they stand for. The more I read and learn, the less likely I am to be wishy-washy on my positions.

I do want to continue to grow as a person, and I do want to hear if someone disagrees with me on some details of my thoughts. But I don't learn anything from comments that are completely polar from my worldview. I could consider conceding some middle ground, but I'll never switch over to the other side. That, to me, seems to be what florian wants to accomplish.

I'm very curious, florian: why do you read my blog?


Florian responds in the comments, and then I respond above.
And is that really Steven Den Beste? I'm honored if it is.

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May 14, 2004


I watched Rocky last night.

When my ESL students and I would do our American Values unit, one of the values I always had to explain at length was "the underdog". Rocky, Rudy, the 1980 US hockey team, these are all modern-day American heroes and folk legends. It's something we as an ESL class spent some time discussing because, to my knowledge, no other culture values the underdog like we do.

When the statue of Saddam came down last March, I was cheering the underdog. But watching Rocky last night triggered an analogy: we Americans are so familiar with the concept of bootstrapping that we sometimes have a hard time understanding why Iraq doesn't drink a glass of raw eggs and get to work. Iraq's Apollo Creed is Islamic Fundamentalism; the US arranged the fight but we can't understand why Iraq won't get in the ring. Having been raised on Rocky, Rudy, and Mighty Ducks, we easily forget that others don't have that tradition.

Who but an American would ever write

I fervently hope that someday, perhaps decades from now, Iraq will have a really top-notch soccer team. I hope that one day, they will get to the final round of the World Cup, and when they do, I hope it is Team USA they play for the championship.

I hope that the Americans play a tough, aggressive, masterful game, that they use all of the speed and skill and power at their command. And then I want to sit there watching TV as an old man, and watch the faces on the Iraqi people when the game is over, because I want to see that the most relieved and joyous they can conceive of being, is the day that tiny Iraq got out on that soccer field and kicked our ass.

Can the love for the underdog be taught? Can it be transfered to Iraqi society? Maybe our Air Force could drop copies of Rocky and Rudy on Iraqi cities so they can start studying. Someday I want to watch a movie about the Iraqi underdog who got to the top not because Allah was willing but because he worked his ass off. That's my hope for the future.

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May 13, 2004


I found this on Castle Argghhh's post Wahabism Delenda Est. It really got to me.


Not all of us can run out and join the fight (though after watching the Nick Berg video, that's the only thing on my mind). Instead we have to fight for freedom at home. Deskmerc once said, "While our troops go out to defend our country, it is incumbent upon us to make the country worth defending." I have kept that on my sidebar to remind myself of my duty, but it's easy to get sidetracked and forget. Castle Argghhh reminded me today.

Our duty is to make the country worth defending. That means prosecuting those who humiliate prisoners, and they will surely be dealt with. But it also means not turning a blind eye to what is going on in this world. It means each and every one of us -- we who grok -- have a duty to try to help others grok. Consider it a sort of political evangelicism; we need to spread The Truth.

When someone equates Abu Ghraib and Nick Berg, we need to set the record straight. Pointing at someone's penis and sawing someone's head off do not a balanced scale make. When someone mistakenly says that both sides in this war on terror want peace, we need to remind them that radical Muslims are not working for peace by a long shot. Hippies want peace on earth; Muslims want death to Americans and Jews. When someone says that war is not the answer, we need to ask them what the f-ing question is.

It is our duty to ask ourselves "What have I done today for freedom?"

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May 09, 2004


Why is Joe Lieberman the only one who groks?

Er, not the only one. Some Iraqis grok too.

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May 07, 2004


Tonight my cell phone rang in my pocket right as I was driving through the gate leaving our post. Since I thought it might be the husband, I really wanted to answer it, but since it's illegal to drive and talk on a cell phone in Germany, the gate was not the smartest place to answer the phone.

Turns out it wasn't the husband, but a great surprise nonetheless: Tim.
And look what he found for me...


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May 02, 2004


Nighthawk emailed me a link to an article about the Spirit of America fundraiser:

The column describing Spirit of America's effort to raise $100,000 for the TV stations appeared in this space 14 days ago. Since then, the following has happened:

Jim Hake, Spirit of America's entrepreneur founder, says they have received $1.52 million. Some 7,000 donations have come from every state, and one from . . . France.

Amazing stuff.

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